How to Make Your Own Camp Stove

How to Make Your Own Camp StoveThe Coke or tin can, alcohol-fueled stove is becoming a familiar design for making a homemade, lightweight stove that is good for backpacking. However, using an alcohol-fueled stove means packing the fuel along with you, which may actually result in a lot more weight for a long trip. An alternative is the hobo stove, which can be used using locally collected wood scraps and pine cones.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Old coffee, juice, or paint can
  • Paint thinner (possible)
  • Soap
  • Scrubber
  • Marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill with metal-drilling bits
  • Metal clippers
 
Step 1
Choose an old paint can, coffee can, or a big can of the kind used to store juice or vegetables and beans in bulk. The best way to choose which kind of can to use is to take your camping pot and/or skillet, and check the bottom against the diameter of the can. You ideally want a can that is a little wider, but something just about the same size will do. Cans with white plastic liners are unsuitable. Cut away or discard the lid, if this has not already been done.
Step 2
Clean out the interior of the can. In the case of an old paint can, this may require soaking in a paint thinner solution.
Step 3
Cut a hole into the bottom of the can. The best way to do this is to measure and draw the hole with a marker, drill holes in the corners, and then clip it out with metal clippers. It can be square, circular or rectangular, and the dimensions (width, height, diameter) should be between three and five inches. How big depends on how big your can is, with the main consideration being having a hole large enough to stuff more fuel into the stove fire without allowing a lot of heat to bleed out. Do not cut away the bottom rim of the can while cutting this hole, as you need that for structural stability.
Step 4
Drill a series of ventilation holes around the perimeter of the bottom of the can. Three or four holes about 2 inches off the bottom rim will be fine.
Step 5
Drill two series of holes near the top, open end of the can. The first is another set of ventilation holes, as in Step 4, three to four holes about 2 inches from the top rim of the can. The second set of holes is to insert support bars for your cooking pot. Select a drill bit the same width as your metal tent pegs, and drill two parallel holes in the sides of this can about 1 inch from the top rim. Metal tent pegs are the best choice for support bars to hold up a cooking pot that fits inside the stove, because you will likely be carrying them anyway.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
The best fuel for a hobo stove are scraps of fallen or dead wood, especially from pine trees with all their flammable sap. Using cardboard scraps won't generate enough heat to do any serious cooking. An alternative to using pegs as support bars is to set an improvised metal grating over the top of the stove, but this will probably be heavier than tent pegs, and does not have the virtue of being a dual-use item.
 
The best fuel for a hobo stove are scraps of fallen or dead wood, especially from pine trees with all their flammable sap. Using cardboard scraps won't generate enough heat to do any serious cooking.
 
An alternative to using pegs as support bars is to set an improvised metal grating over the top of the stove, but this will probably be heavier than tent pegs, and does not have the virtue of being a dual-use item.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.